The New York City mayoral elections started out with over 50 candidates vying to be the next mayor. With just a few days left until the primaries the grueling race has been whittled down to its top five picks. Namely, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, former counsel to the mayor Maya Wiley, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Marist College recently released a poll showing Adams still leading as the frontrunner with the two women candidates, Garcia and Wiley, coming from behind at the tail end of the polls to nipping right at his heels. Wiley, in a brief interview with Amsterdam News, said that she wasn’t letting polls rattle her or her campaign to be the next mayor at all though.

Wiley has received $6,165,380 in private and public donations so far, and received numerous endorsements from politicians like US. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Hakeem Jeffries. She has also been named the Amsterdam News’ top pick for mayor as well.

She said that her campaign is based around people as opposed to relying on a strategy for outwitting Ranked-Choice Voting. “It’s about the plans we have to make a difference in their lives,” she said. She maintains that a progressive Democrat like her can and will win the race because of the “vision” of her “putting people first” plans for the city.

Wiley said that she is still in full support of Ranked-Choice Voting because many Black and Brown voters don’t return to the polls if there is a run-off election, or a tie breaker. She said that as a civil rights lawyer, her main goal is for her community’s votes to count as much as possible particularly at a time of such political derision and voter suppression.

“The thing that I’m seeing and feeling when I am in communities, including when I went to vote, which was a very powerful emotional experience on Monday,” said Wiley, who voted early in Flatbush, Brooklyn this week: “So many people, whether it’s in East Flatbush or Southeast Queens or East Tremont in the Bronx, they’re all looking for a mayor who is actually going to give their children a future, who is going to keep them safe from crime but also from police violence, who’s going to have a real plan that will result in them being able to afford the rent.”

Wiley also touched on the number one issue that has been popular among voters: How is the mayor going to prevent more spikes in crime?

“There’s no question that people are afraid of crime,” said Wiley. “There’s so much fear about whether we’ll take care of the rise in crime, particularly in Black and Latino communities, let’s be honest that’s where the highest violence rates are. It’s the same communities that had the highest violence rates and gun violence rates in 1993.”

Wiley said that using the police department resources “smartly” and “better” fixes the problems that engender the violence in the first place. “The truth is we don’t have to choose between good, smart policing and being safe from crime and also being safe from police violence. When people hear that, you know, I feel the support,” said Wiley. 

“The primary focus is that people hear, not just the vision that we have for the city,” said Wiley about the countdown to the primaries, “It is also a vision that has concrete plans, bold, transformative. That will confront the bureaucracy, that will say, ‘Stop telling us we can’t, because we can.’”

She said she plans to ensure that she tackles issues around rent, policing, and big developers in the city, and hopes to impart that to voters. 

On the off chance that she doesn’t win the primaries, laughed Wiley, she said she plans to keep doing the work she’s been doing. “Over the course of my career, in every way that will serve our communities in racial justice, in making sure that we’re ending poverty, and confronting what ails us, which far too often is systemic racism. It’s what I’ve done my whole career and it’s what I’m going to keep doing as mayor and in anything else I do in this life because it’s all I’ve ever done and it’s all I’m going to do,” said Wiley.

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